27:1 Now when morning was come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
THIRD STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS FORMALLY CONDEMNED BY THE
SANHEDRIN AND LED TO PILATE.
(Jerusalem. Friday after dawn.)
Matthew 27:1,2; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-23:1; John 18:28
- All the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus. See Mark 15:1.
27:2 and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pilate the governor1.
- And delivered him up to Pilate the governor. See Mark 15:1.
27:3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned1, repented himself, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
REMORSE AND SUICIDE OF JUDAS.
(In the temple and outside the wall of Jerusalem. Friday morning.)
Matthew 27:3-10; Acts 1:18,19
- Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned. Judas, having no reason to fear the enemies of Jesus, probably stood in
their midst and witnessed the entire trial.
27:4 saying, I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood1. But they said, What is that to us? see thou [to it].
- I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood. There are two Greek words which are translated "repented", the one properly so
translated, "metanoeo", which means literally "to know after" and which
therefore means a change of mind or purpose; and the other,
"metamellomai", which is used here and which means literally "to care
after", indicates a sorrow for the past. The first should be translated
"repent"; the second, "regret". Trench draws the distinction thus:
"He who has "changed his mind" about the past is in the way
to change everything; he who has an "after care" may have
little or nothing more than a selfish dread of the
consequences of what he has done."
Considering the prophecy which had been uttered with regard to Judas'
act (Matthew 26:24), he had good reason to fear the consequences. While
he testifies as to the innocence of Jesus, he expresses no affection
- What is that to us? see thou [to it]. The rulers did not share with Judas the wish to undo what had been done. They have been censured
for not receiving the testimony which Judas gave as to the innocence of
Jesus. But as they condemned Jesus upon his own testimony, any evidence
which Judas might give would be, from their standpoint, irrelevant and
immaterial. Could Judas testify that Jesus was indeed the Son of God?
If our Lord's own testimony to this effect was regarded as blasphemy,
nothing which Judas could say would change the case. But the testimony
of Judas, in the free, untechnical court of public opinion, is of vast
weight and importance. It shows that one who had every opportunity of
knowing Jesus, and who was sordid enough to betray him, was yet forced
for conscience' sake to admit that there was no reason why he should
have done so.
27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, and departed1; and he went away and hanged himself.
- He cast down the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, and departed. Judas found the chief priests in the sanctuary. Having obtained from
Pilate the condemnation of Jesus, they hastened back to the temple to
discharge their morning duties. This gave the soldiers time to mock
Jesus and Pilate time to order and prepare the crucifixion. And so,
though Jesus was sentenced at six o'clock in the morning (John 19:14),
he was not crucified until the third hour, or nine o'clock (Mark 15:25).
Thus the priests were enabled to be present at the crucifixion, or at
least very soon after the crosses were erected. Judas, finding that
they would not receive his money, cast it down before them that his
hands might be no longer burnt by holding it.
27:6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood1.
- It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood. The law of God made no provision as to the uses of
blood money; it was the tradition of the elders which thus forbade to
put it into the treasury. Theirs was a strange conscience indeed, which
could take out the Lord's money (and, under the then existing Jewish
theocratic government, all public money was the Lord's money) and spend
it for blood, but when it was so spent they could not put it back!
Moreover, theirs was a strange admission. If the money given to Judas
was properly expended for the arrest of a real criminal, it was justice
money, and not blood money at all.
27:7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in1.
- And bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. That is, the foreigners who died in Jerusalem. Whether rich or poor, they
were not wanted in Jewish graveyards. The potter's field, being
excavated for clay, would be of little value, and would sell cheap.
27:8 Wherefore that field was called, the field of blood, unto this day1.
- Wherefore that field was called, the field of blood, unto this day. This mark of time shows that Matthew's Gospel was written a good many
years after the crucifixion.
27:9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah1 the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver2, the price of him that was priced, whom [certain] of the children of Israel did price;
- Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah. This quotation is not found in any writings of Jeremiah which we have, and
as there are no other indications of lost writings of that prophet, it
is reasonable to suppose that Matthew refers to Zechariah 11:12,13, and
that early transcribers miscopied the name, which, in the Greek, could
be done by changing only two letters; viz.: "i" for "z" and "m" for
- And they took the thirty pieces of silver, etc. The prophecy is one of the third class described previously. See Matthew 2:17.
27:11 Now Jesus stood before the governor1: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews2? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
FIRST STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. JESUS BEFORE PILATE FOR THE FIRST
(Jerusalem. Early Friday morning.)
Matthew 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:2-5; John 18:28-38
- Jesus stood before the governor. Jesus is called from the guards who have him in custody and stands alone before Pilate that the
governor may investigate his case privately.
- Art thou the King of the Jews? etc. See Mark 15:2.
27:12 And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders1, he answered nothing2.
- When he was accused by the chief priests and elders. See Luke 23:2.
- He answered nothing. When Pilate left the Praetorium to speak with the Jewish rulers, it is evident that Jesus was led out with him, and
so stood there in the presence of his accusers.
27:13 Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee1?
- Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? See Mark 15:4.
27:14 And he gave him no answer, not even to one word1: insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
- He gave him no answer, not even to one word. See Mark 15:5.
27:15 Now at the feast1 the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would.
THIRD STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. PILATE RELUCTANTLY SENTENCES HIM
(Friday. Toward sunrise.)
Matthew 27:15-30; Mark 15:6-19; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:39-19:16
- Now at the feast, etc. See Mark 15:6.
27:16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas2.
- Mt 27:16
- And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. See Mark 15:7.
27:17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?
- Whom will ye that I release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? See Mark 15:9.
27:19 And while he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man1; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
- Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man, etc. This message of Pilate's wife suggests that the name and face of Jesus were not
unknown to Pilate's household. Pilate would be much influenced by such
a message. The Romans generally were influenced by all presages, and
Suetonius tells us that both Julius and Augustus Caesar attached much
importance to dreams.
27:20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitude1s that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
- The chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitude, etc. See Mark 15:11.
27:23 And he said, Why, what evil hath he done1? But they cried out exceedingly, saying, Let him be crucified.
- Why, what evil hath he done? etc. See Mark 15:14.
27:24 So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing1, but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude2, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye [to it].
- When Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing. See Luke 23:23.
- He took water, and washed his hands before the multitude. Pilate's act was symbolic, intended to show that he regarded the crucifixion of
Jesus as a murder, and therefore meant to wash his hands of the guilt
thereof. The Jewish law made the act perfectly familiar to the Jews
27:25 And all the people answered and said, His blood [be] on us, and on our children1.
- His blood [be] on us, and on our children. Had the Jewish rulers not been frenzied by hatred, the sight of Pilate washing his hands
(Matthew 27:24) would have checked them; but in their rage, they take
upon themselves and their children all the responsibility. At the siege
of Jerusalem they answer in part for the blood of Christ, but God alone
determines the extent of their responsibility, and he alone can say
when their punishment shall end. But we know that it ends for all when
they repentantly seek his forgiveness. The punishments of God are not
vindictive, they are the awards of justice meted out by a merciful
27:26 Then released he unto them Barabbas; but Jesus he scourged1 and delivered to be crucified.
- But Jesus he scourged, etc. See Mark 15:15.
27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium1, and gathered unto him the whole band.
- Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, etc. See Mark 15:16.
27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe1.
- And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. See Mark 15:17.
27:29 And they platted a crown of thorns1 and put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews2!
- And they platted a crown of thorns. See Mark 15:17.
- And mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! See Mark 15:18.
27:30 And they spat upon him1, and took the reed and smote him on the head.
- And they spat upon him. See Mark 14:65.
27:31 And when they had mocked him1, they took off from him the robe, and put on him his garments, and led him away to crucify him.
A. ON THE WAY TO THE CROSS.
(Within and without Jerusalem. Friday morning.)
Matthew 27:31-34; Mark 15:20-23; Luke 23:26-33; John 19:17
- And when they had mocked him, etc. See Mark 15:20.
27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name1: him they compelled to go [with them], that he might bear his cross.
- They found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, etc. See Mark 15:21.
27:33 And they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, The place of a skull,
- When they were come unto a place called Golgotha. See Mark 15:22.
27:34 they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall1: and when he had tasted it, he would not drink.
- They gave him wine to drink mingled with gall, etc. See Mark 15:23.
27:35 And when they had crucified him1, they parted his garments among them, casting lots;
B. JESUS CRUCIFIED AND REVILED. HIS THREE SAYINGS DURING FIRST THREE
(Friday morning from nine o'clock till noon.)
Matthew 27:35-44; Mark 15:24-32; Luke 23:33-43; John 19:18-27
- When they had crucified him, etc. See Mark 15:24.
27:36 and they sat and watched him there.
- They sat down and watched him there. They were on guard to prevent any attempt at rescue.
27:37 And they set up over his head his accusation written1, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
- And they set up over his head his accusation written, etc. See Mark 15:26.
27:38 Then are there crucified with him two robbers1, one on the right hand and one on the left.
- Then are there crucified with him two robbers, etc. See Mark 15:27.
27:39 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads1,
- They that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads. See Mark 15:29.
27:40 and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple1, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross.
- And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, etc. See Mark 15:29.
27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save1. He is the King of Israel; let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe on him.
- He saved others; himself he cannot save. See Mark 15:31.
- He is King of Israel, etc. See Mark 15:32.
27:44 And the robbers also that were crucified with him cast upon him the same reproach1.
- And the robbers also that were crucified with him cast upon him the same reproach. See Mark 15:32.
27:45 Now from the sixth hour1 there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
C. DARKNESS THREE HOURS. AFTER FOUR MORE SAYINGS, JESUS EXPIRES.
STRANGE EVENTS ATTENDING HIS DEATH.
Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-30
- Now from the sixth hour, etc. See Mark 15:33.
27:46 And about the ninth hour1 Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
- And about the ninth hour, etc. See Mark 15:34.
27:47 And some of them stood there, when they heard it, said, This man calleth Elijah1.
- This man calleth Elijah. See Mark 15:35.
27:48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge1, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
- One of them ran, and took a sponge, etc. See Mark 15:36.
27:49 And the rest said, Let be1; let us see whether Elijah cometh to save him.
- The rest said, Let be, etc. See Mark 15:36.
27:50 And Jesus cried again with a loud voice1, and yielded up his spirit.
- Jesus cried again with a loud voice. See Luke 23:46.
- And yielded up the spirit. See Mark 15:37.
27:51 And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom1; and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent;
- The veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom. See Mark 15:38.
27:53 and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection1 they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many.
- And coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection. The earthquake, the rending of the rocks, and the consequent opening of the
graves (Matthew 27:51,52), occurred at the moment of Jesus death, while
the resurrection and visible appearance in the city of the bodies of
the saints occurred "after his resurrection", for Jesus himself was the
"firstborn of the dead" (Colossians 1:18). Matthew chooses to mention the
last event here because of its association with the rending of the
rocks, which opened the rock-hewn sepulchers in which the saints had
slept. There has been much speculation as to what became of these risen
saints. We have no positive information, but the natural presumption
is that they ascended to heaven. These resurrections were symbolic,
showing that the resurrection of Christ is the resurrection of the race
(1 Corinthians 15:22).
27:54 Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God1.
- Truly this was the Son of God. See Mark 15:39.
27:55 And many women were there beholding from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him2:
- Many women were there beholding from afar off. See Mark 15:40.
- Who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him. As to the ministering of these women, see Luke 8:3.
27:56 among whom was Mary Magdalene1, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
- Among whom was Mary Magdalene, etc. See Mark 15:40, additional note on the four women.
27:57 And when even was come, there came a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph1, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
D. JESUS FOUND TO BE DEAD. HIS BODY BURIED AND GUARDED IN THE TOMB.
Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42
- A rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph. See Mark 15:43.
27:58 this man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus1. Then Pilate commanded it to be given up.
- This man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. See Mark 15:43.
27:59 And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth1,
- A clean linen cloth. A sindon, or linen vestment. See Mark 14:51.
27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb1, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.
- And laid it in his own new tomb. To the sindon, or linen vestment, Joseph adds the honor of a burial in his own tomb. The unused state of
the tomb is mentioned to show that there is no shadow of doubt as to
whose resurrection opened it.
27:61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre1.
- Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. See notes at Luke 23:55,56.
27:62 Now on the morrow, which is [the day] after the Preparation1, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together unto Pilate2,
- Now on the morrow, which is [the day] after the Preparation. When did they come to Pilate? Meyer, Cook, etc., say that the Greek word
"epaurion" translated "morrow" precludes any other idea than it was
after daylight Saturday morning, but Michaelis, Paulus, Kuinoel, etc.,
say that they came Friday night, and we think their view is correct.
The word also means "the next day". As the Jewish day began at sunset,
we know of no other Greek adverb by which Matthew could have expressed
the beginning of a day. Had it been the Sabbath morning there is no
reason why Matthew should not have said so. By mentioning, instead, the
Preparation, he draws the mind back to what we would call Friday night.
It is highly improbable that the Jews would leave the tomb of Jesus
unguarded for one whole night.
- The chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together unto Pilate. This was not the whole Sanhedrin, but members of it. Their
gathering thus to Pilate in the shades of evening presents a gruesome
27:63 saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said while he was yet alive, After three days I rise again1.
- After three days I rise again. See Matthew 12:39,40 for this saying. Also see John 2:19.
27:64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day1, lest haply his disciples come and steal him away2, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: and the last error will be worse than the first.
- Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day. Had the phrase "after three days" meant three full days to them,
they would have said "until the fourth day". For the Jewish method of
counting days, see Matthew 12:40.
- Lest haply his disciples come and steal him away, etc. The marvelous signs accompanying the death of Jesus appealed to men's fear rather
than to their love, and were, therefore, calculated to make a far
deeper impression upon his enemies than upon his friends. We find,
therefore, these Jewish rulers full of active interest in the dead
Christ while his apostles and friends are listless in despair. They, of
course, did not think it possible that Jesus could indeed rise, but,
seeing the profound impression which the portents attending the
crucifixion had made upon the multitude (Luke 23:48), and judging
the disciples of Jesus by themselves--full of all subtlety and cunning
--they grasped at once the idea that the disciples could make a great
stir among the people by stealing the body and proclaiming the
predicted resurrection. The apostles, on the other hand, when the
actual resurrection had taken place, did not learn for fifty days what
use to make of it, thus showing they could not have planned a pretended
27:65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a guard1: go, make it [as] sure as ye can.
- Ye have a guard. The Greek here may be the indicative or the imperative; it is clearly the latter. If the Jews had possessed a
guard, they would not have asked for one. Pilate consents to their
request by saying, "Have ye a guard", thereby fully sanctioning their
27:66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone1, the guard being with them.
- So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone. They sealed the stone by drawing a string or tape across it and fastening
the ends with wax or clay to the surface of the rock on either side. If
either seals were broken, that fact would show that the tomb was
entered from without.